Investigations Blog

Teaching Investigations 3 Remotely: Not So Different

Our staff has been thinking hard about how teachers are using Investigations 3 to teach math in all of the different scenarios they are faced with this year. We’ve been visiting the remote classrooms of teachers we’ve collaborated with previously, to learn from teachers and students who are teaching and learning math online, and to see how the rigor and coherence of the curriculum is supporting them in that work. This series of blogs will share some of what we are learning. (Read an...

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This Learning Is Not Lost

It’s been a challenging year for teachers and students. They have been asked to pivot, sometimes from one week to the next, often with little warning, to new classroom structures and learning situations. In virtual settings or in classrooms with social distancing, teachers find that many of the moves they rely on—something as simple as kneeling next to a student to discuss their work—are not possible, and so they search for another way. At the same time, the headlines scream at them about...

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What Does Remote Instruction Look Like?

Like many, we have been thinking hard about the complexities of remote instruction. One of the things we’re interested in is what the remote teaching and learning of mathematics looks like in different settings. Many people are asking this question, and developing their own answers to it. Below are several examples from practicing teachers and coaches, that provide images of what the work of math teaching and learning remotely can look like in the elementary grades. Janaki Nagarajan is a...

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Teaching and Learning, Remotely

Many people are or will be teaching online, for some or all of their school day, at some point this year. Like everyone else, we have been thinking hard about remote instruction. How do we hold on to what we value in the teaching and learning of mathematics, in an online environment? What needs to shift? Below are blogs that we have found interesting and useful as we think through these and other questions. Recommendations & Strategies David Wees reviewed what the research on online...

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Starting School, 2020

As teachers and students start – or get ready to start – the school year, people have been thinking about what’s important to focus on after the chaos and challenges of the emergency remote teaching and learning of last spring. How can teachers and students enter the school year in a way that best supports students’ continued learning and their development of a strong sense of mathematical identity and agency? How can teachers best find out about their students’ thinking and...

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Robot Fingers and Multiplicative Structure

In a blog post over a year ago, I wrote about the importance of using story contexts to support students in developing mental images of the operations. In that post, I concluded: “Along with pictures, drawings, diagrams, equations, and physical models, story contexts are critical parts of a student’s repertoire of representations.  In fact, it is often the case that three kinds of representations are in play: a numerical representation, a picture or diagram, and a story.  Moving among these to...

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“Is 100 a Teen Number?” Part 2

What follows is a lightly edited version of the second part of an end-of-Kindergarten discussion about the teen numbers. In Part 1, students took up the question of whether 100 is a teen number. That conversation built on a previous one, about why there are so many 1s in the teen numbers. At a certain point in the conversation about whether 100 is a teen number, the discussion began circling around the same ideas, ones that had already been shared. At that point, the teacher made a decision to...

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“Is 100 a Teen Number?” Part 1

Not long after I witnessed a Kindergarten conversation about why there are so many 1s in the teen numbers, I visited the same classroom. This time, it was Nicole who asked a question that knocked my socks off. “I wonder if 100 is a teen number?” When I asked why she thought it might be she said, “Because it starts with a 1.” Her partner nodded, nudged her to take her turn, and they returned to their game. Several days later, I returned, for their end-of-unit discussion about the teen numbers....

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Who Gets Challenged to Extend Their Thinking? A Conversation About Differentiation

In conversations about differentiation, strategies to scaffold learning for students who need more support, and strategies to extend the learning for students who are ready for more challenge often come up. One topic that is rarely considered however, is the importance of finding ways to offer students who typically need more support, opportunities to think about a task in ways that will extend their thinking about the mathematics. In the following conversation, excerpted from the Supporting...

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Are There Going to Be More Than 20? More Than 50?

Many of us were taught to “estimate” in elementary school. Maybe we were asked how many jellybeans there were in a jar. Or asked to round before finding the answer to a computation problem. But for many of us there was little connection between those activities and actually solving problems. I would argue that estimating — determining what an approximate and reasonable answer might be — should be a part of the process of solving problems. A visit I made to a 1st grade classroom at the end of...

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